How has life changed in Akhalgori after the pandemic?
In early April, the de-facto Security Committee of occupied so-called South Ossetia declared the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in Georgia as the major foreign threat.

Intensified Discrimination

With that in mind, the Georgian population living in Akhalgori are the main "suspect" for de facto authorities. Locals suppose that the representatives of the de facto security forces are deliberately creating a background to convince the people of occupied South Ossetia that the virus will be intentionally spread by the Georgian population of Akhalgori. According to one of the scenarios, infected person from Tbilisi might illegally cross the border and spread the infection. In this context, the population of Akhalgori is constantly reminded of their relatives and family members living in the territory controlled by the Georgian government.

According to the information the Democracy Research Institute was provided with, the demands of self-isolation, based on discrimination and unfounded claims, has increased in Akhalgori.

Readiness to fight the pandemic

Despite numerous statements by de facto officials that they are ready to fight the pandemic, the situation in medical facilities is critical. A letter spread by public sources saying that a local doctor refused to provide services to patients in the quarantine area because the hospital did not have the necessary equipment for doctors has caused great concerns. The doctor was threatened and asked to resign, but later was given the personal protective equipment (PPE).

Although due to the pandemic, ritual feasts have been officially banned, shops and beauty salons have been closed, many do not obey the restrictions. The mechanism for enforcing the restrictions is also weak.

Unqualified Medical Care

Two people have recently died in Akhalgori. Local population names the indifference attitude of local medical staff and the lack of medicines and medical equipment needed for qualified medical care at the Akhalgori Hospital as the reasons for that. Currently, there are two seriously ill patients in Akhalgori Hospital who need emergency medical care. The Democracy Research Institute calls on the Georgian authorities to use all available resources to transfer patients from Akhalgori to medical facilities located in the Georgian-controlled territory.